Coyle tries to find positives after Bolton fall right back into trouble
Bolton Wanderers 0 Everton 2
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
The Reebok Stadium
Monday 28 November 2011
Owen Coyle believes all will be well at Bolton when his injury list shortens. The Trotters' manager made it 12 players missing on Saturday.
"In all my time in football, it's not something I've experienced," he said after his side's 10th defeat of the season left them squarely in the relegation zone.
One particular position appears to have a curse on it. Coyle was without his preferred right-backs, Dedryck Boyata, on loan from Manchester City and the highly promising local youngster, Joe Riley, both injured.
He moved David Wheater there from the centre of defence, with disastrous results – he was sent off for a studs-up tackle after 18 minutes. "He's young," said Coyle. "He has to learn and he'll learn quickly."
Nigel Reo-Coker slotted in to the problem position, until he pulled a hamstring. Then Coyle brought on Gretar Steinsson, who is at least a specialist right-back. It is a wonder that he was not struck by lightning.
Everton made merry down that flank all afternoon. Both their goals came from crosses delivered from acres of space on their left, the first from Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and the second from Leighton Baines.
In defence or pressing forward, Baines looked the part of the England left-back he would have been more often but for Ashley Cole's mortgage on the position.
"Leighton imposed himself in the second half and gave us that width," said his manager, David Moyes.
Successive victories over the Wanderers of Wolverhampton and Bolton have lifted Everton, almost unnoticed, to the dizzy peaks of eighth in the table. "I hope this is the start of us picking up," said Moyes, but he knows they will not meet such compliant opposition every week.
Scorers: Everton Fellaini 49, Vellios 78.
Substitutes: Bolton Wanderers Pratley 5 (Muamba, 61), Steinsson 5 (Reo-Coker, 70), Tuncay 5 (K Davies, 70). Everton Vellios (Saha, 74), Barkley (T Cahill, 87), Gueye (Bilyaletdinov, 89). Booked: Bolton Reo-Coker. Everton Osman. Sent-off: Bolton Wheater (20).
Man of the match Baines. Match rating 5/10.
Possession: Bolton 45% Everton 55%.
Attempts on target: Bolton 7 Everton 14.
Referee M Oliver (Northumberland). Att 24,058.
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